FORM is a short-film that explores the relationship between technology and nature.
This film was a collaborative effort between the talented composer, Jae Bordley and myself to visualize a world where technology is used for creation rather than destruction.
We hope you enjoy the film as much as we did creating it!
Jason Scuderi - Director / Producer / CG Artist / Animation
Jae Bordley - Music
The music for FORM was the DNA of this visual initiative. The track came together over a period of about four months while the visual end of the video was being built.
The following is the full AUDIO track along with a splendid interview I did with Jae Bordley.
JAE BORDLEY is a Composer, Sound Designer and Sound Editor.
We’ve been chatting about doing something together for a while. Many discussions about narrative vs experimental, music video vs film. The first time I heard the track for FORM - I was completely blown away. It really took me to another world and I thought this was the one we have to collaborate on.
What made you decide to create this particular piece?
I wish I could tell you it was something deep and meaningful. Unfortunately I can’t, lol. Truthfully, I was messing with a synth I hadn’t used in a while and came up the chord progression. Then I added some other elements on top. I felt it had a nice cinematic vibe so I hit save.
We’re both children of the 80’s. These days it seems like you can’t turn around without being hit with a piece of nostalgia from that era. Regarding the synth generated sound of this piece, I was immediately taken back to that time period - John Carpenter, Tangerine Dream, Vangelis and the like.
Was that the kind of sound you wanted to generate and if so, what was your specific inspiration?
The overall sound and feel was intentional. The plug-in synth I chose for this piece is based on FM synthesis which was pretty much the sound of the 80’s. FM synthesis mixed with arpeggiation definitely gives it that 80’s vibe, but I think it also a modern feel as well, so its not too nostalgic.
This was a very short piece, and may be considered more along the lines of a music video. I felt like the song you created was part of a score for a larger project however. Was that your intention?
Nothing in particular really. As you know, we started this project with me sending you a series of short 30 - 40 second tracks. Some of the those were just old loops, or “seeds” as I like to call them, sitting on my hard drive that never made it into my other productions. The others were new material I composed with video usage in mind.
Personally, I was struggling to find some way to connect the sound and an early idea I had that involved a guy who lost his wife and then travelled to space to reconnect with her life-force or something.
As we progressed, the story I had imagined completely changed tracks when you mentioned your love of nature. The “flower” climax immediately appeared and it just clicked! Is the idea of nature in general as an inspiration a big part of your process?
For some reason when I compose tracks I have imagery of nature — walking through the woods, watching a stream, etc. — however, I am far from a nature person. You’ll never catch camping or hiking. That being said, I love the connection of being outside. For some reason trees are a big thing for me and my wife. We have tree motifs through out our house. Where we live, we are surround by trees. Not like in the woods, but close. We had to cut down some dying trees in our front yard a. Couple years back and we both felt so bad!
Technology can be used for so many positive things. It connects, informs and in some cases evolves our humanity.
In regard to the polar use of technology - social media giants selling and manipulating personal data, the production of life threatening weaponry and destructive climate business practice, etc.
Besides using electronic devices to create music, how do you integrate technology in your everyday lifestyle? And do you feel like technology is veering towards a positive or negative vector?
I’m big into tech and embrace it [almost] fully. My house is a privacy advocate’s nightmare. Amazon and Siri are listening in pretty much every square inch of my house. There definitely is trade off for the convince some of this new tech offers. I’m given the possibility to have my random questions answered or turn on my lights with my voice but, in return, I risk some company collecting data on me: are they really doing that, I don’t know. If they are, I live a pretty boring life I would almost feel sorry for them for wasting the time. In regards to some of the other tech coming out, like from Boston Dynamics…pretty scary stuff. I could go much, much deeper on this topic but over all I think where are headed is positive but could easily go the wrong way.
FORM on its surface is about “creation” with an underlying theme focusing on the relationship between technology and nature.
How important is the story to you when you decide to score a film or project?
Honestly, the story is not that important to me per se. Perhaps this would be different if I were a Hans Zimmer. At this point in my career, unless the film was a complete mess and would hurt my career, I’d probably take it on. I’m more focused on understanding the story so that I can provide the best sound/music that will be right for the story. To me music in film plays a supportive role. It can determine the feel of the film, it can assist in the character’s individual story. It can be front and center driving excitement or it can be very subdued and simply escorting the viewer to the next scene.
We have a long history! Over the years you’ve really matured as an artist. Whether it’s client generated or something more experimental like FORM. Your particular sound keeps getting more refined.
These two worlds, CLIENT vs EXPERIMENTAL can be vastly different mindsets. Is there a particular goal or personal signature you try to inject with the tracks you create for each? Or are you more or less comfortable executing different styles?
For me client work is just that, work for a client. So, I produce works that fit what they want and need. I will of course add my style in where I can. For my own projects, I just kind of let the sound evolve and go where it wants. One thing that has an influence on my sound is the gear I’m using. These days I have a lot more analog synths in my set up, so that adds to my sound. In regards to executing styles, I don’t know if I’d say comfortable. I’d probably say I felt confident that I could pull off a different style, but not always comfortable. There are a lot of different styles of music out there. If someone asked me to write traditional Italian music for a project I wouldn’t feel comfortable doing it because I have no experience with that style of music. However, I’m pretty confident I could do it.
Personally, I feel like the marriage of moving image and sound is one of the greatest forms of art humanity has invented.
Are there films you are particularly attracted to that have influenced you over the years in that respect?
Are you interested in pursuing other forms of art like theatre or something experimental?
It’s funny. I’ve always wanted to score/compose for film and visual media since I can remember but I am far from a movie buff. I listen to soundtracks all the time, though I’ve never seen the movies they go to. I guess if I had to pick someone who got me going though, it would probably be Danny Elfman. I wouldn’t mind doing some experimental audible projects or sound installations. It’s crossed my mind several times.
Working together can generate interesting results and in most cases, something entirely unexpected.
When you work with someone, how do you balance your personal creativity with the goal of the piece?
I’m pretty laid back and I’m a team player. If its someone else’s project I try to give them what they asked for first and then work in my style where possible. If its a collaborative project and I have more say on the creative direction then I will 100% give my creative input. But it really depends on who I’m working with and what the project is.
Personal projects are very important to me and in some cases, even more-so than client work. I feel that as an artist, you have to create. The decision to not materialize an idea is not an option.
How do you tend to personal creative needs and passions?
And how do you push yourself when an idea seems stale or isn’t going anywhere?
Finally, what’s down the road for you creatively?
It is definitely tough to fit personal creative projects and passions (I have a lot of hobbies) in between normal life obligations. I don’t have a good answer for you. I just squeeze it in. In regards to knowing when something isn’t going anywhere: I think it’s just a feeling you begin to know after doing something for years. Way back I could work on a beat or track for hours and hours to end up nowhere because I thought I could turn it into something. Now with more experience I can tell if its going somewhere and if its not, 9 times out 10 I will still save the project. I may come back to it later and try to complete it or I may use it for parts or I may never touch it again. Creatively speaking I find myself becoming more and more intrigued with sound design. Thats the road I seem to be traveling more and more.
WORK IN PROGRESS
From a technological perspective, humanity has accomplished a great deal of progress in a short amount of time. Through mobile devices and other means, infinite troves of information are accessible . We have the ability to speak to one another across the globe in a matter of nanoseconds. We can print in three dimensions and visualize thought through refined digital manipulation. DNA has been sequenced and life expectancy has been expanded. We can travel further faster and countless other achievements utilizing the power of technology.
As the scope of our knowledge reaches new heights, we however, are still young as a species and in such a state, rather immature. With all of our gained knowledge about the world inhabit, and the universe we exist in, the most powerful nations on earth choose to use technology to create terrifying weaponry, fight over perceived territory, horde riches and in many cases, allow singular elected leaders and dictators to control power over decisions that affect all such as global warming, hunger, fuel and basic human rights.
To illustrate the idea of using technology for creation rather than destruction Many references were in the back of my mind through the design process - Most prominently being at the climax of the film during the creation of the FLOWER.
Initially, images of the first atomic bomb test came to mind - arguably some of the most prolific and intelligent human beings gathered on that fateful day to witness the culmination of knowledge and rather than utilizing that great power for human consideration and peace, one of the most destructive forces on earth was born. The traveler in FORM is awash with a bright light, but rather than it emanating from a nuclear blast, the traveler is witness to the creation of life.
CREATION VS. DESTRUCTION
The other less obvious reference was the “ship.” It was meant to be an interpretation of the “Obelisk” from Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece, “2001, A Space Odyssey.” The elegant and simplistic design had to be the complete opposite of the roughly barren, sun-scorched environment. A kind of reflection of where humanity may be due to climate change.
Knowledge is our greatest responsibility to cherish and pass on to the next generation.